Gamera: Guardian of the Universe Talkback

Spinning flame-jetted turtles, space birds being chopped up like bologna, kids in shorts screaming for help...the original Gamera series was a strange mix of wacky fun!! The 90's Gamera films set a standard that other kaiju films are measured against! Discuss Gamera films here!!

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Gamera: Guardian of the Universe Talkback

Postby king_ghidorah » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:12 pm

The Basics:

A giant atol, mysteriously drifts through the sea of Japan before finally revealing itself to be the titular kaiju, Gamera who in this film is a relic of Atlantean technology. He has surfaced to battle his ancient foe, the Gyaos, and through a stone amulet, he can "link minds" with a young girl named Asagi Kusanagi. The titanic turtle proceeds to exterminate the Gyoas before they can become the new dominant life form on the planet.

The Plot:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamera:_Gu ... e_Universe

The Kaiju:

Gamera:

Ok, after the entire Showa era of Gamera essentially looking the same we have a noticable appearance shift in this film. Gamera for the first time is green, with highlights of brown on his shell. His face at times looks like a frog at times, odd.

Still, there's a lot to love about this suit. It's a faithful adaption of the Showa suit, just modernized. Gamera's arms and legs are bulkier than before, making for a much more believable appearance (though making it very unlikely/impossible that Gamera could tuck any of his limbs inside his shell...but this is Gamera, no need for that type of thinking here)

His shell is also different, losing it's dragon scaled look, and having been replaced by a more "plated" look.

This is probably my second favorite Gamera suit behind the 67 one. I think the perfect Gamera would be a combo of those two suits...the body and proportions of the 95 suit, with the color, and slighly more fierce face of the 67 suit. I also think the perfect Gamera shell would keep the segmented, plated looks of the Hesei era suits, but under the dragon scales that covered the Showa era suits.

Gyaos:

Another giant leap from the Showa era. There are a few different stages of Gyaos throughout this film as they mature into adults, but the real big change in each stage of Gyaos evolution seems to be its eyes. Going from a white, muppet looking eyeball, into a shielded, evil looking eye of an adult Gyaos.

Gyaos is largely the same in appearance (not as colorful though) and abilities (not noxious fumes). One drastic departure from the Showa era involves Gyaos' legs, which are now more bird like. The legs, and the body for that matter, work more or less in this film, but Gyaos recieves a much better revamp in Gamera 3.

The Acting:

Excellent on all fronts. The leads are all great. I think the acting here tops most of the Hesei Godzilla films.

A real stand out in the Gamera trilogy is Yukijirō Hotaru. That guy just has amazing comedic timing. To me, he's the Japanese version of Jeffery Combs.


The SPFX:

Pretty darned good. I'd say this film is slighly above the Hesei era Godzilla films. (Destroyer has some pretty decent animated effects in its opening and finale) The minatures in this film are superb and a real highlight of the film. The suits used for Gamera and Gyaos are also excellent and much more expressive than anything that Toho had done in the Hesei era.


The Other Stuff:

-The most "Gamera" of the Hesei Gamera films. This film really is an updated take on the Showa Gamera given some more modern twists.

-Gamera no longer shoots jets of flames, but instead, shoots balls of high velocity plasma....I think I'd prefer if Gamera used both abilities.

-While it looks cool, it always bothered me as a kid, that smoke just flies at the screen and Gamera is never seen tucking in his limbs...something about that just seemed lazy the first time I saw this film. It's hard to figure out how Gamera would pull his gigantic limbs inside his shell but instead of working with it, the film makers just said, ah, "screw it" obscure everything in smoke...that's ok with this film, but they do it for all three films....just a nit pick of mine

-I like the Hesei films, but I prefer the Showa, so don't expect "Nerdgasms" from me on these films. The Gamera trilogy is a great series of kaiju films, I'm just not sure how much they qualify as Gamera films

-The ammulet letting the girl meld with Gamera is a interesting way to allow humans to interact with Gamera without it coming across as cheesy...I personally prefer the cheese though, the ammulet comes across to me like "the drill key" found in Gurren Laggan.

-The trilogy deff has some very anime ish vibes to it...by the time we reach the third film it's practically a live action anime
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Postby The Real McCoy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:19 pm

I've always been a big fan of the Showa series, but this and the other two films in the trilogy knocked my socks off. The updated special effects were great, but mostly I liked the solid stories and updated Gamera designs. They really did a good job in bringing Gamera back with this film.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:21 am

The Real McCoy wrote:I've always been a big fan of the Showa series, but this and the other two films in the trilogy knocked my socks off. The updated special effects were great, but mostly I liked the solid stories and updated Gamera designs. They really did a good job in bringing Gamera back with this film.


They are good films...it just seems to me like every subsequent film in the trilogy has less of Gamera in it, and more generic kaiju awesomeness! I planned on writing about this comparison later but Gamera GOTU is basically a revamped Showa Gamera film more or less...

Gamera 2 is basically a Gamera meets the world of Ultra Q, or maybe a Honda film...pretty cool idea, I'm glad they did this....but I'm also glad it's not the direction of every Gamera film after...

Gamera 3 is Gamera meets Evangelion...or some other anime. With very little Gamera in the film. It's easily one of the top 5 kaiju films ever made...it's just not much of a Gamera film.

The you have Gamera the Brave which is about as Gamera as you can get.

Yes, I made "Gamera" an adjective :lol:
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Postby The Real McCoy » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:32 am

I see what you're saying. Yeah, it's not the traditional Gamera character. But I really did enjoy the change of pace. They were well-written in my opinion. And as for the anime-style stuff, I'm not familiar with anime, so I don't know; though the second and third films did seem more fantasy-ish than the first. And I haven't seen The Brave yet, but by the looks of things, he does return to his roots.
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Postby Gman2887 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:13 pm

I don't understand this "not much of a Gamera film" nonsense. As far as I'm concerned, this trilogy is just as much of Gamera movies as the original.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:27 pm

Gman2887 wrote:I don't understand this "not much of a Gamera film" nonsense. As far as I'm concerned, this trilogy is just as much of Gamera movies as the original.


Just an area where I happen to side with Gamera's creator, Noriaki Yuasa. Gamera should be a friend of children first and foremost, not a grim, nihlistic defender of Earth. Gamera is a charming, at times childish and idiotic, good natured kaiju...very little darkness in him unless he's cornered in a fight.

Look, there are probably a lot of people that agree with you, but saying that my opinion is nonsense is crap. It's an opinion, its a personal view on a movie and that's always going to be subjective...I am doing these reviews because no one else offered to start the talkbacks for these movies, so if you don't like an opinion of mine, that's fine, but be a little more polite or at least back up your case with some valid points...
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Postby The Real McCoy » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:51 pm

I didn't see the "not much of a Gamera film" comment. But you know, in places, they are quite different.
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Postby Gman2887 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:22 am

king_ghidorah wrote:
Gman2887 wrote:I don't understand this "not much of a Gamera film" nonsense. As far as I'm concerned, this trilogy is just as much of Gamera movies as the original.


Just an area where I happen to side with Gamera's creator, Noriaki Yuasa. Gamera should be a friend of children first and foremost, not a grim, nihlistic defender of Earth. Gamera is a charming, at times childish and idiotic, good natured kaiju...very little darkness in him unless he's cornered in a fight.

Look, there are probably a lot of people that agree with you, but saying that my opinion is nonsense is crap. It's an opinion, its a personal view on a movie and that's always going to be subjective...I am doing these reviews because no one else offered to start the talkbacks for these movies, so if you don't like an opinion of mine, that's fine, but be a little more polite or at least back up your case with some valid points...


It just doesn't make a lot of sense in this genre-- One filled to the rim with reinventions and changes to characters to keep them interesting. With the opposing logic over half the Showa Godzilla series aren't "much of Godzilla" movies. I guess we haven't had much of a Godzilla movie since, what? "Mothra vs. Godzilla?" "Raids Again?" The original?
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:30 am

Gman2887 wrote:
king_ghidorah wrote:
Gman2887 wrote:I don't understand this "not much of a Gamera film" nonsense. As far as I'm concerned, this trilogy is just as much of Gamera movies as the original.


Just an area where I happen to side with Gamera's creator, Noriaki Yuasa. Gamera should be a friend of children first and foremost, not a grim, nihlistic defender of Earth. Gamera is a charming, at times childish and idiotic, good natured kaiju...very little darkness in him unless he's cornered in a fight.

Look, there are probably a lot of people that agree with you, but saying that my opinion is nonsense is crap. It's an opinion, its a personal view on a movie and that's always going to be subjective...I am doing these reviews because no one else offered to start the talkbacks for these movies, so if you don't like an opinion of mine, that's fine, but be a little more polite or at least back up your case with some valid points...


It just doesn't make a lot of sense in this genre-- One filled to the rim with reinventions and changes to characters to keep them interesting. With the opposing logic over half the Showa Godzilla series aren't "much of Godzilla" movies. I guess we haven't had much of a Godzilla movie since, what? "Mothra vs. Godzilla?" "Raids Again?" The original?


Depends on who you ask...some fans I've talked to...yes, that'd be their thinking.

And if it doesn't make sense...then let me break it down like this...

I like the original concept of Gamera and the original films, so I don't feel he needs to be "reinvented"....updated a bit ala Gamera the Brave, sure...but reinvented no.

I'm glad we got the Gamera trilogy, I really am. I love the films. But I also am glad the trilogy is done and I hope that any subsequent Gamera films or tv shows are more similiar to the Showa era or GTB
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Postby Gman2887 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:32 am

I suppose I've never understood the Showa series or love for it. The further away future movies are from the Showa series, the better.
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Postby heroforhirerob » Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:26 am

The strength of this one I think is in the story. The budget restraints are apparent at time(like some of those awful Gyaos puppet shots), but the SPFX work is excellent for the most part. It also benefits from likable characters(unlike the Godzilla Hesei series). I remember at the time being impressed enough to hope they made more...and luckily....they did.
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:06 am

Given that I think Yuasa's execution of the "friend of all children" angle (I.E. RAMMING IT DOWN OUR THROATS) was awful to the point of hurting the quality of the films up to Viras (the first time it felt natural), I really don't care that Gamera was reinvented in the 90s and I feel like the 90s Gamera takes a lot of the same core concepts and just runs in a different and interesting direction with them. I don't really think it's a betrayal to the character at all.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:31 am

kiryugoji04 wrote:Given that I think Yuasa's execution of the "friend of all children" angle (I.E. RAMMING IT DOWN OUR THROATS) was awful to the point of hurting the quality of the films up to Viras (the first time it felt natural), I really don't care that Gamera was reinvented in the 90s and I feel like the 90s Gamera takes a lot of the same core concepts and just runs in a different and interesting direction with them. I don't really think it's a betrayal to the character at all.


That's hard to value your opinion there though on this subject because of your hatred for all things Yuasa

And I still find the fact that you hated the Showa Gamera series mystifying considering you are prehaps are most vocal Bronie here and you like the "lesser" Godzilla films such as Gigan....you'd think the Showa Gamera series would be right up your alley
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:28 am

I swear to God, NO ONE READ MY POSTS in the Gamera the Brave thread a couple of months ago! :lol:

Here:

kiryugoji04 wrote:See, I've found most of what I've seen of the Showa Gamera series to be pretty clunktastic, with the exception of the very well-done Barugon. The first film is entertaining as hell but good it is not - the script is a mess. Gyaos is pretty solid after the really clunky first third and then Viras has the opposite problem: the opening is very well done but once the stock footage hits, it becomes spectacularly clunky and dull, minus a few highlights from the final battle. Top that off with Yuasa trying to ram the "friend of all children" angle down our throats by poorly shoehorning it into Gamera and Gyaos and I find the man doesn't have a great track record.

Mind you, I have nothing against Gamera being the friend of all children. I actually like the idea and the child-friendly aspect of Gamera the Brave (albeit reversed: all children are Gamera's friends!) is something I really love. It also works in Viras pretty well but MAN does it ever hurt Gamera and Gyaos. In Gamera it's just plain contradictory to EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE MOVIE and it makes Toshio act like a deranged psychopath. In Gyaos, it really feels like Yuasa wasn't happy with the route taken in Barugon and wanted to force the series back into his own personal idea of how it should be, that is, the friend of all children idea. Okay, that's fine, but the way he does it (the rescue of Eiichi) feels extremely forced and grinds the pace of the movie to a screeching halt. Ugh. And I love that movie otherwise!

Godzilla's transition from villain to hero was a long, slow transition and it works brilliantly. Gamera's is too ham-fisted and it really brings the first and third movies down in my mind. Once it was established it worked in Viras but that movie was crazy clunky for entirely different reasons (and as far as the tiny budget Viras probably had, I can only say: Jun Fukuda).


kiryugoji04 wrote:It has very little to do with how absurd the movies are or are not. Like I said, Yuasa's movies just feel really clunky to me so far on the whole. I mean, did anyone actually read that post I made? :P

I did greatly enjoy the absurdity of the films I've seen so far; Toshio being a raging psychopath, a giant vat of fake blood, spinning on top of a hotel, Gamera having a race with a pair of children in a mini-sub - all that stuff was really great, sure. Mind you, the absurdities of the first film lose points for me because, aside from the amazing Plan Z, most of them result from derpy decisions on the part of the filmmakers (see: ramming the "friend to children" aspect down our throats while making a movie about a murderous, rampaging monster) instead of the wonderful, calculated absurdities of the following films or, say, Ultraman Ace.

Ultraman Ace is a good example, actually, of the sort of absurdity I love. It's not the ones brought on by mistakes or miscalculations on the part of the filmmakers (though those CAN be amusing) but the really bizarre moments intentionally written into the scripts - the sort of things that make 70s Ultraman episodes really amazing to watch.

Take a moment and re-read that post of mine. I don't HATE the Showa Gamera films I've seen but I do find aspects of them can make some parts a bit of a chore to watch.

Also, Batman & Robin never grinds to a halt with children piggybacking on a giant turtle or a half hour of stock footage from the previous three films. It may be terribly insulting to the notion of what Batman is to many people is but it's pretty quickly paced and entertaining. Taken for what it is, it's pretty solid and I REGRET NOTHING.


There. There's a very detailed explanation of my qualms with the series. ALSO, let me reiterate that I don't HATE the movies - The first film is stupidly entertaining, Barugon is FANTASTIC - one of my favorite kaiju films now, Gyaos is a very solid film despite a rough opening (and Showa Gyaos is one of my favorite ever monsters), and the opening of Viras is really fun, even though the movie goes to hell a third of the way in.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:32 am

I remember your posts and Mouth and I being a little dumbfounded....you just seem like a prime canidate for liking the Showa Gamera series.

Still, I respect your opinion (even if it's wrong :wink: )

And I agree about your assesments on the Showa Gyaos design and Barugon being a great film

I'm watching G2 now...I'll try and have my review up later today :D
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:38 am

king_ghidorah wrote:I remember your posts and Mouth and I being a little dumbfounded....you just seem like a prime canidate for liking the Showa Gamera series.


WELL THEN I GUESS YOU JUST DON'T KNOW ME LIKE YOU THINK YOU DO. :P

Still, I respect your opinion (even if it's wrong :wink: )


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Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:41 am

BTW kiryu, off topic...I like your art and I know you are a big Gigan/GTTHM fan...any chance you will ever do art for either of those films?
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:57 am

I'm planning on doing a big Gigan-related piece for that movie's 40th anniversary next year.

As for Ghidrah, that's something I'd love to make art for once I can get around to it. :lol:
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Postby king_ghidorah » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:00 am

kiryugoji04 wrote:I'm planning on doing a big Gigan-related piece for that movie's 40th anniversary next year.

As for Ghidrah, that's something I'd love to make art for once I can get around to it. :lol:


Coolio
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Postby MouthForWar » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:44 am

I know I've been a little late to the party on the Heisei talkbacks, but here I am!

So the first movie... I like this one a lot, but its my least favorite of the trilogy. Its a VERY well done film, but the later films just seem more ambitious. Here you can kinda see them knocking off the Heisei Godzillas by playing up having a girl having a telepathic link to Gamera. Oh well, at least it does it better than most of the latter Heisei G-films. Out of the trilogy, the effects in this one have probably aged the worst, but I'm guessing this one had a smaller budget than the others.

Anyway, its a great setup for where the story would go in parts 2 and 3. But the whole thing seems more generic when compared to the next 2 entries.

I do really like that they play up the Atlantis origin that is only hinted at in the original Gamera from the 60s.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:51 am

Yeah Gamera is a kaiju that works best from a logical (HA! Logic, Gamera, what the hell have I been drinking?) when he's been created by man, ie. Atlantians....another way you could concieve of a moderately sensible Gamera origin is exactly what GDT is doing with Paciffic Rim...a sink hole somewhere that acts a gate to another dimension where Gamera ect. are the everyday, average fauna/ wildlife...

(I'll always feel a tiny bit bitter about the plot line of Paciffic Rim, I had that idea locked in my brain for a while now, was going to use it eventually in some fiction but oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles, I had to write a few other stories first and they go to it before I did :( ....still, at least it's GDT doing the story, probably miles better than anything I would have ever came up with anyways)
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Postby kiryugoji04 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:21 am

I don't think the effects in this film have aged badly at all, with the exception of a CG model here and there or a couple shots of the flying Gyaos props. Otherwise, I think it's all masterfully done and most every miniature effect in this movie makes my pants tighten.
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Postby MouthForWar » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:22 am

I don't think the SPFX look horrible by today's standards, I just think its the only film in the trilogy where the effects start to show their age. The miniatures are still amazing, but the CG and wirework aren't all that great.

G2 and G3 on the other hand, to me, represent the peak of suitmation/miniature effects and still haven't been topped.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:44 am

kiryugoji04 wrote:I don't think the effects in this film have aged badly at all, with the exception of a CG model here and there or a couple shots of the flying Gyaos props. Otherwise, I think it's all masterfully done and most every miniature effect in this movie makes my pants tighten.


If you think the film is flawless effects wise then I'll merely point you in the direction of some rather stiff looking prop flying Gyaos'...or some very, very fake looking clouds.

The effects are good for the time...but G2 and G3 have good effects, period...no apology needed
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Postby MouthForWar » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:51 am

king_ghidorah wrote:
kiryugoji04 wrote:I don't think the effects in this film have aged badly at all, with the exception of a CG model here and there or a couple shots of the flying Gyaos props. Otherwise, I think it's all masterfully done and most every miniature effect in this movie makes my pants tighten.


If you think the film is flawless effects wise then I'll merely point you in the direction of some rather stiff looking prop flying Gyaos'...or some very, very fake looking clouds.

The effects are good for the time...but G2 and G3 have good effects, period...no apology needed


Ohhhh, I forgot all about the clouds! Yeah those are uh... not good.
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